Please keep in mind that this guidebook is laid out over a 26 week time period and I'm trying to share it with you in a manner of days. The tips and strategies shared are excellent steps to managing your diet and your cholesterol. Please take a look at the following information and see if you can incorporate any of the tips and steps into your daily food routine.
Follow Canada's Food Guide - vegetables and fruits
A balanced diet includes foods from each of the four food groups in Canada's Food Guide. Vegetables and fruit are generally fat-free, cholesterol free and important sources of fibre. Aim to eat 7 to 10 servings every day. A serving is:
- 1/2 cup (125mL) fresh, frozen or canned vegetables
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) cooked leafy vegetables
- 1 cup (250 mL) fresh, frozen or canned fruits
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) 100% juice
For more fibre, chose vegetables and fruit more often than drinking juice. Enjoy vegetables raw, steamed, baked or stir-fried instead of deep-fried. Eat at least one dark green veggie and one orange veggie each day.
- pack 2 fruits for a snack and 2 veggies with your lunch today (e.g. apple, mango, baby carrots, red pepper strips). Tha'ts 4 servings already for the day!
- cut and prepare vegetables ahead of time - toss them into a salad or stir-fry
- have a leafy green salad with dinner every day this week
Grain products are important sources of fibre. Choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar or salt. Aim to eat 6 to 8 servings a day, with at least half of those servings coming from whole grains. A diet rich in whole grains may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
A serving of grain products is:
- 1 slice (35g) bread
- 1/2 bagel (45g)
- 1/2 pita or tortilla (35g)
- 30g cold cereal
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) hot cereal
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) cooked rice, bulgar, couscous, past or quinoa
Try different whole grains such as barley, brown rice, quinoa and oats. Oats, oatmeal and oat bran contain oat fibre, which helps lower cholesterol. Psyllium fibre also helps lower cholesterol and is found in cereals made with psyllium. If you are following a gluten-free plan, try gluten-free grains such as amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa and rice.
TIP: Eat more whole grains
- have a breakfast cereal made with oats at least two times this week - add fresh fruits on top for extra fibre
- make sandwiches on whole grain pita or oatmeal bread
- swap white rice for brown rice or brown basmati rice. Try whole grain whole wheat pasta or buckwheat (soba) noodles
Milk and Alternatives
Milk and alternatives are important for nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Aim for 2 to 3 servings per day. A serving is:
- 1 cup (250 mL) milk or fortified soy beverage
- 3/4 cup (175 g) yogurt or kefir
- 1`1/2 oz. (50g) cheese
To help manage your cholesterol levels, choose lower fat and lower cholesterol options such as skim, 1% or 2% milk. If you are lactose intolerant or do not drink milk, try low fat fortified soy beverage. Read food labels and look for cheese with 20% M.F. (milk fat) or less and yogurt with 2% M.F. or less.
TIP: Switch gradually to lower fat milk products and alternatives
- use milk or fortified soy beverage instead of cream in your coffee
- use lower fat yogurt to make your own smoothies, lassi, raita and dips
- make pulao or biryani with lower fat coconut milk or low fat evaporated milk instead of full fat coconut milk or cream
- replace cream with lower fat milk in soups
Meat and alternatives
Meat and alternatives are important for protein and nutrients such as iron and zinc. Enjoy meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often. Beans and lentils are low in fat, high in fibre and are heart healthy choices. Tofu contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Aim to eat 2 to 3 servings of meat and alternatives every day, with at least two servings of fish each week. A serving is:
- 2 1/2 oz or 125 mL or 1/2 cup (75g) cooked fish, shellfish, poultry, lean meat - about the size of a deck of cards
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) cooked legumes
- 3/4 cup (150 g or 175 mL) tofu
- 2 tbsp (30mL) peanut or nut butters
- 3/4 cup (60mL) nuts and seeds
TIP: Get the benefits of meat and alternatives while cutting down on saturated fat
- eat a vegetarian meal at least once this week - try rice and peas, bean stew, lentil dal, chickpea curry
- buy lean cuts of meat and trim off any visible fat - remove the skin from poultry
- brown ground meat and drain off the extra fat
- choose leaner luncheon meats such as roasted turkey, breast, ham or roast beef rather than salami, kielbasa or bologna
- try firm tofu in recipes that call for paneer